Federal Harbor in Cobscook Bay

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Photo: Federal Harbor viewed from outside the entrance - by Mark Lenci

If you have gotten as far east as Eastport and are looking for remoteness and solitude -- a place where you'll be entirely on your own (and if you'd prefer not to clear into Canada) -- Federal Harbor is the place for you. It's also a great place to weather a storm!

Approach & Cautions

Photo: Courtesy of Ben Ellison

Due west of Eastport lies a small inland sea, Cobscook Bay, with few houses and few lobster pots or boats. Farthest west are Whiting Bay Inlet and Dennys Bay Inlet – they require transiting reversing falls, with currents up to 15 knots ‒ we’ll leave them to others “braver” than we.

Between Eastport and the reversing falls is Cobscook Bay and, at its southern extremity, South Bay; therein is found Federal Harbor. The current between Eastport and Federal Harbor is at most 2 to 3 knots, so timing your passage to Federal on the flood and back to Eastport on the ebb provides a very nice lift in each direction.

The ruins of a wooden boat rests on the shore of a scenic harbor.

The entrance to Federal Harbor is between Hog Island to the north and Long Island to the south. Upon reaching that waypoint, the “harbor” – actually a long inlet – opens up before you.

Click the chart to open Navionics.

Not to be used for Navigation.

Docking, Anchorages, or Moorings

There are two areas that provide excellent anchorage in or just outside Federal Harbor. The first is in the harbor itself, between Horan Head and Black Head. Deeper draft sailboats will want to anchor closer to the entrance between the two heads and powerboats/shallower draft boats can anchor farther inside the harbor. If you are uncomfortable with the swing room between the two high headlands or just want more room, the area just to the south of the harbor entrance between Black Head and Long Island provides a large area with good holding that could handle many boats (although you are unlikely to see any other boats anchored during your visit to this secluded area).

Getting Ashore

Photo: Cove at high tide by Roban Kramer

With the huge tidal rise and fall in this area, getting ashore can be precarious. Pick your spot carefully and use a long painter or anchor line depending on the expected state of the tide.

A small cove lined with mostly evergreen trees.


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